Removing Terrorist Sanctuaries: The 9/11 Commission Recommendations and U.S. Policy

CRS Report for Congress
Removing Terrorist Sanctuaries: The 9/11
Commission Recommendations and U.S. Policy
Updated February 11, 2005
Francis T. Miko, Coordinator
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Kristin Archick, Emma Chanlett-Avery, Nicolas Cook,
Richard P. Cronin, Ted Dagne, Kenneth Katzman,
K. Alan Kronstadt, Mark E. Manyin, Larry A. Niksch,
Alfred B. Prados, Jeremy M. Sharp, and Bruce Vaughn
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division

Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress

Removing Terrorist Sanctuaries: The 9/11 Commission
Recommendations and U.S. Policy
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11
Commission) issued its final report on July 19, 2004. A major recommendation in
the report was that the U.S. government should identify and prioritize actual or
potential terrorist sanctuaries and, for each, to employ a realistic strategy to keep
possible terrorists insecure and on the run, using all elements of national power.
U.S. strategy to combat global terrorism, even prior to 9/11, included efforts to
deny sanctuary to terrorist groups by isolating and applying pressure on states that
sponsor or acquiesce to terrorists on their territory and by strengthening the
counterterrorism capabilities of countries that cooperate with the United States but
need help. For years, U.S. officials exerted considerable diplomatic pressure on the
Taliban government to expel Al Qaeda from Afghanistan. The United States also
pressed the government of Pakistan to crack down on terrorist sanctuaries within its
own borders and to use its influence with its then Taliban ally. These efforts were
largely unsuccessful until the 9/11 attacks caused many governments to change their
approach and cooperate more extensively with the United States in the fight against
terrorism. After 9/11, U.S. efforts to deny terrorists sanctuary were substantially
increased worldwide. The National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, released by
the White House on February 14, 2003, placed strong emphasis on closing down
terrorist sanctuaries, using all available instruments (military force, law enforcement,
diplomacy, economic assistance, etc.). The strategy report addressed the need to
eliminate conditions that produce terrorist sanctuaries, especially in failed states.
The 9/11 Commission identified six primary regions that serve or could serve
as terrorist sanctuaries. These included Western Pakistan and the Pakistan-
Afghanistan border region; southern or western Afghanistan; the Arabian Peninsula,
especially Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and the nearby Horn of Africa, including
Somalia and extending southwest into Kenya; Southeast Asia, from Thailand to the
southern Philippines to Indonesia; West Africa, including Nigeria and Mali; and
European cities with expatriate Muslim communities. In all of these regions, the
United States and its allies have mounted campaigns to deny safe havens for
A number of bills were introduced in Congress in 2004 to implement the 9/11
Commission recommendations and related measures. P.L. 108-458, the National
Intelligence Reform Act of 2004, with language regarding terrorist sanctuaries, was
signed into law on December 17, 2004. The 109th Congress is likely to address
terrorist sanctuaries in its authorization and appropriations legislation, as well as in
its oversight of the global war on terrorism.
This report analyzes U.S. policies targeting terrorist sanctuaries in countries and
regions highlighted in the 9/11 Commission recommendations. It may be updated
as developments warrant.

Overview ....................................................1
Legislation ...................................................4
Western Pakistan and the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Region..........4
U.S. Anti-Terrorist Operations in Afghanistan.......................7
Arabian Peninsula.............................................9
Saudi Arabia..............................................9
Yemen .................................................10
The Smaller Arab Gulf Monarchies...............................11
Findings of the 9/11 Commission............................11
Actions Taken...........................................12
Challenges Ahead........................................12
Southeast Asia...............................................13
Strategies for Combating Terrorism in Southeast Asia............14
Africa and International Terrorism...............................18
Overview ...............................................18
Somalia ................................................18
Kenya ..................................................19
The Sahel Region.........................................20
West Africa.................................................20
Nigeria .................................................20
Liberia and Sierra Leone...................................21
U.S. Counterterrorism Efforts in Littoral West Africa............21
Europe .....................................................23

Removing Terrorist Sanctuaries: The 9/11
Commission Recommendations and U.S.
Overvi ew 1
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States issued
its final report (the 9/11 Commission Report) on July 19, 2004. The report offered
a number of recommendations to strengthen U.S. efforts to combat terrorism. One
strong recommendation was that the U.S. government should identify and prioritize2
actual or potential terrorist sanctuaries. For each, it recommended a realistic strategy
to keep possible terrorists insecure and on the run, using all elements of national
power. The Commission stressed that the United States should reach out, listen to,
and work with other countries that can help.
The rationale given for devoting special attention to denial of sanctuaries was
that “....a complex international terrorist operation aimed at launching a catastrophic
attack cannot be mounted without the time, space, and ability to perform competent
planning and staff work; a command structure able to make necessary decisions and
possessing the authority and contacts to assemble needed people, money, and
materials; opportunity and space to recruit, train, and select operatives with the
needed skills and dedication, providing the time and structure required to socialize
them into the terrorist cause, judge their trustworthiness, and hone their skills; a
logistics network able to securely manage the travel of operatives, move money, and
transport resources (like explosives) where they need to go; access, in the case of
certain weapons, to the special materials needed for a nuclear, chemical, radiological,
or biological attack; reliable communications between coordinators and operatives;
and opportunity to test the workability of the plan.”
The Commission stressed the value to Al Qaeda of its Afghan sanctuary under
the Taliban government, as well as of its logistical networks, running through
Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates in preparing the 9/11 attack and other
operations. The report also emphasized the lax internal security environments in
Western countries, including the United States that the terrorist were able to exploit.
The Commission stated that to find sanctuary, terrorist groups have fled to some of
the least governed, most lawless places in the world. The United States was seen as
facing an enormous challenge finding ways to extend its reach and influence to some
of these remote areas. The Commission warned that every policy decision made

1 Prepared by Francis T. Miko, Specialist in International Relations.
2 The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist
Attacks Upon the United States, July 2004, Section 12/2, p. 365-367.

needed to be viewed through this lens. For instance, Iraq could not be allowed to
become a failed state, because it could become a primary breeding ground for attacks
against Americans at home. Similarly, the report stressed that U.S. and allied efforts
to achieve stability in Afghanistan must succeed or else the Taliban, warlords, and
drug traffickers might prevail, and allow the country to again become a potential
refuge for Al Qaeda, or like-minded terrorist groups.
As the Commission report pointed out, U.S. efforts were underway even prior
to 9/11 to get governments, especially those of Afghanistan and Pakistan, to deny
sanctuary to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups but these efforts were largely
unsuccessful until the 9/11 attacks caused many governments to change their course.
U.S. policy to combat global terrorism has long included the objective of denying
sanctuary to terrorist groups by isolating and applying pressure on states that sponsor
terrorism or tolerate terrorists on their territory, and by strengthening the
counterterrorism capabilities of countries that cooperate with the United States but
need help.
The National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, released by the White House
on February 14, 2003, stressed the broad scope of U.S. policy aimed at denying
terrorists sanctuaries.3 What was termed the second front of U.S. strategy gave
priority to “denying terrorists the sponsorship, support, and sanctuary that enable
them to exist, gain strength, plan, and execute their attacks.” The strategy’s stated
focus was three-fold: (1) to convince all states of their responsibility to combat
terrorism; (2) to target aid to countries with the will but not the means to combat
terrorism; and (3) to take action against states that are unwilling to meet their
obligation to fight terrorism. Military force and law enforcement remained major
tools of the new strategy. However, the strategy document also emphasized other
instruments such as diplomacy, economic assistance, and programs to strengthen
governance. The aim was to choke off the lifeblood of terrorist groups. In language
very similar to that of the 9/11 Commission report, the strategy document spoke of
denying access to territory, funds, equipment, training, technology, and unimpeded
transit. More broadly, the strategy sought to eliminate conditions that produce
terrorist sanctuaries, especially in failed states. The strategy spoke of the need to
build a powerful coalition of nations against terrorism, including reorienting existing
partnerships and creating new mechanisms of cooperation. It stressed that the United
States was recasting its relations and forging new cooperation with Russia, China,
Pakistan, and India.
After 9/11, the United States rallied much of the world’s support for the war
against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and for a global crack-down against
terrorists and their money. The United States was able to enlist allies, as well as
Russia and China, in support of the war effort. In what many experts saw as a
fundamental shift in Russian policy with potential long-term consequences for U.S.-
Russian relations, President Putin allied himself fully with the United States in the
struggle, even showing understanding on the sensitive issue of U.S. use of bases in
neighboring former Soviet republics. The United States gained more qualified

3 [

support from China, which stopped short of specific military assistance. The United
States also succeeded in gaining crucial operational support from Pakistan and the
Central Asian republics, in particular Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.
A large coalition of countries, as well as NATO as an organization, remain
engaged in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. Small numbers of U.S.
forces have been deployed to the Philippines to help local authorities root out
terrorists believed to be affiliated with Al Qaeda. U.S. and allied forces have also
been sent to the Middle East and Horn of Africa to intercept terrorists. The United
States has sent military advisors to the Republic of Georgia to help eliminate terrorist
groups operating from its territory. Since President Bush’s State of the Union speech
in 2002, singling out Iran and North Korea, along with Iraq, as an “axis of
evil,”diplomatic pressure has been mounted on the North Korean and Iranian
governments to give up their nuclear weapons ambitions and end their support for
terrorism, and the regime of Saddam Hussein has been removed from power.
In November 2003, the Bush Administration signaled that it would begin
consultations with U.S. allies and host nations on the issue of possibly moving U.S.
bases in order to better position forces to meet the new global threats, including the
ability to attack terrorists in their sanctuaries. Planning for such a redeployment has
reportedly advanced considerably, though most details have not yet been made
The United States also uses economic “carrots and sticks” to gain cooperation
from governments and to strengthen their capacity to deny sanctuary to terrorists.
The United States has a strong economic sanctions regime in place barring U.S.
foreign assistance to states that support terrorism. The United States also uses foreign
aid and economic incentives to encourage states to cooperate in efforts to eliminate
terrorist sanctuaries, providing new resources to assist unstable countries with
impoverished and alienated populations. In March 2002, the Administration unveiled
a plan to increase U.S. foreign aid over the next several years to poorer developing
countries, through the “Millennium Challenge Account.”4 Although this initiative
is linked to good governance rather than anti-terrorism, it could be seen as supporting
The 9/11 Commission Report identified six primary areas in particular that do
or could serve as terrorist sanctuaries. These include Western Pakistan and the
Pakistan-Afghanistan border region; southern or western Afghanistan; the Arabian
Peninsula, especially Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and the nearby Horn of Africa,
including Somalia and extending southwest into Kenya; Southeast Asia, from
Thailand to the southern Philippines to Indonesia; West Africa, including Nigeria and
Mali; and European cities with expatriate Muslim communities, especially in central
and eastern Europe where security forces and border controls are less effective. The
following sections assess the current situation and U.S. efforts in each.

4 See CRS Report RL32427, Millennium Challenge Account: Implementation of a New U.S.
Foreign Aid Initiative, June 30, 2004.

A number of bills were introduced in Congress in 2004, to implement the 9/11
Commission recommendations and related measures. Five of them, in particular,
sought to implement recommendations regarding the eliminations of terrorist
sanctuaries: S. 2774, introduce by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and John Lieberman
(D-CN), on September 7, 2004; H.R. 5024, introduced by Representative Nancy
Pelosi on September 8, 2004, and H.R. 5040, introduced by Representative
Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) on
September 9, 2004. H.R. 10 was introduced on September 24, 2004, by House
Speaker Dennis Hastert. S. 2845 was introduced in the Senate by Susan Collins (R-
ME). S. 2845, the National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004, as amended, was
passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by the President on December
17, 2004 (P.L. 108-458). It included provisions on terrorist sanctuaries taken from
several of the bills.
Under the legislation, the President was to develop a strategy for addressing and,
where possible, eliminating terrorist sanctuaries and a list in priority order actual and
potential terrorist sanctuaries. He was to outline strategies for disrupting or
eliminating the sanctuaries, describe efforts by the U.S. government (including
successes and setbacks) to work with other countries — bilaterally and multilaterally
— to address or eliminate each actual or potential terrorist sanctuary and disrupt or
eliminate the security provided to terrorists by such sanctuaries, and describe long-
term goals and actions to reduce the conditions that allow the formation of terrorist
The act amended Section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50
U.S.C. App. 2405 (j)) to include explicitly countries providing sanctuary to terrorists
or terrorist organizations under the definition of countries supporting international
terrorism. The act also required that the Annual Report “Patterns of Global
Terrorism” address the issue of terrorist sanctuaries, steps countries are taking to
eliminate them, and U.S. strategies and efforts to work with other countries. The act
requires the President to submit a report to Congress, not later than 180 days after
enactment of the act, including a section on terrorist sanctuaries and what is being
done to eliminate them.
The 109th Congress is likely to address terrorist sanctuaries in its authorization
and appropriations legislation, as well as in its oversight of the global war on
Western Pakistan and the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border
Regi on 5
The 9/11 Commission Report emphasizes that the mounting of large-scale
international terrorist attacks appears to require sanctuaries in which terrorist groups
can plan and operate with impunity. It also notes that Al Qaeda was aided
substantially by its former sanctuary in Afghanistan and its logistical networks

5 Prepared by K. Alan Kronstadt, Analyst in Asian Affairs.

through Pakistan. The report further notes that Pakistan’s vast unpoliced areas
remain attractive to terrorist groups. Almost all of the 9/11 attackers traveled the
north-south nexus from Kandahar in Afghanistan through Quetta and Karachi in
Pakistan, according to the report. The Commission identifies the government of
President Pervez Musharraf as the best hope for stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan,
and recommends that the United States make a long-term commitment to provide
comprehensive support for Islamabad, so long as it is committed to a policy of
“enlightened moderation.”
According to the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, Pakistan has afforded
the United States unprecedented levels of counterterrorism cooperation by allowing
the U.S. military to use bases within the country, helping to identify and detain
extremists, and deploying tens of thousands of its own security forces to secure the
Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Top U.S. officials regularly praise Pakistani anti-
terrorism efforts. The State Department reports that Islamabad has captured 550
alleged terrorists and their supporters, and has transferred more than 400 of these to
U.S. custody, including several top suspected Al Qaeda leaders. Pakistan also ranks
fourth in the world in seizing terrorist assets, according to State. Among the security-
related assistance provisions to Pakistan from the United States since 2001 are
surveillance radars, night-vision goggles, and transport aircraft and helicopters,
equipment meant to enhance Pakistan’s ability to support Operation Enduring
Freedom and to secure its borders.
Pakistan is known to be a base for numerous U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist
Organizations, and Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, his associate, Egyptian
Islamic radical leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Taliban chief Mohammed Omar may
themselves be in a remote area of Pakistan near Afghanistan. Despite Pakistan’s
“crucial” cooperation, there have been doubts about Islamabad’s commitment to core
U.S. concerns in the vast “lawless zones” of the Afghan-Pakistani border region
where Islamic extremists find sanctuary. Especially worrisome are indications that
members of the Taliban may continue to receive logistical and other support inside
Pakistan. Senior U.S. Senators and State Department officials have voiced such
worries, including concern that elements of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies might
be helping members of the Taliban and perhaps even Al Qaeda.
Since the Taliban’s ouster from power in Kabul and subsequent retreat to the
rugged mountain region near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, what the U.S. military
calls its “remnant forces” have been able to regroup and to conduct “hit-and-run”
attacks against U.S.-led coalition units, often in tandem with suspected Al Qaeda
fugitives. These forces are then able to find haven on the Pakistani side of the
border, which Islamabad does not allow U.S. forces to cross. Many of the extremists
operating in this region have links to indigenous Pakistani terrorists groups that
operate in the city of Karachi, and two lethal December 2003 attempts to assassinate
President Musharraf were blamed on Jaish-e-Mohammed and Al Qaeda terrorists.
Musharraf has claimed that up to 600 “unwanted foreigners” are active in the tribal
areas and he has acknowledged that Islamic extremists have infiltrated the lower
levels of Pakistan’s security apparatus.
In an effort to block infiltration along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border,
Islamabad had by the end of 2002 deployed some 70,000 troops to the region. In

April 2003, the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan formed a Tripartite
Commission to coordinate their efforts to stabilize the border areas. In June 2003,
in what may have been a response to increased U.S. pressure, Islamabad for the first
time sent its armed forces into the traditionally autonomous western Federally
Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in search of Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters who
have eluded the U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan. By September 2003, Islamabad
had up to 25,000 troops in the FATA, and a major border operation reportedly took
place in coordination with U.S.-led forces on the Afghan side of the border. After
the two attempts on President Musharraf’s life, the Pakistan military increased its
efforts in the FATA. The Islamabad government also has made progress in
persuading Pashtun tribal leaders to undertake their own efforts by organizing tribal
“lashkars,” or militias, for the express purpose of detaining — or at least expelling
— wanted fugitives. Such militias have been unsuccessful to date. Islamabad’s
more energetic operations in the western tribal regions also have brought vocal
criticism from Musharraf’s detractors among Islamist groups, many of whom accuse
him of taking orders from the United States. Some observers worry that increased
government pressure on tribal communities and military operations in the FATA may
create a backlash, sparking unrest and strengthening pro-Al Qaeda sentiments there.
During March 2004, the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan intensified
their coordinated military operations in the mountainous Afghan-Pakistani border
region, and Pakistani troops fought a pitched 12-day battle with Islamic militants in
a traditionally autonomous tribal area. More than 130 people were killed in the
fighting, including 46 Pakistani soldiers, but no “high value” Al Qaeda or Taliban
targets were reportedly killed or captured. Up to 6,000 Pakistani soldiers were
involved in the battle, which encouraged many observers as a sign of President
Musharraf’s sincerity in the effort to uproot terrorists and their supporters on
Pakistani territory, but which also apparently exacerbated already volatile anti-
Musharraf sentiments held by many ethnic Pashtuns in the region. On April 24,
2004, in what came to be known as the “Shakai agreement,” Islamabad took a new
tack of seeking “reconciliation” with Pashtun militants and the foreign radicals they
are accused of harboring by allowing foreign fighters to remain in the region if they
turn in their weapons and renounce terrorism.
By early June 2004, this strategy apparently had failed, and the government
rescinded its amnesty offer to five key tribal militants in South Waziristan. More
than 20,000 troops backed by fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter gunships, engaged
in offensive operations that included the killing of one of the most defiant militant
Pashtun leaders, Nek Mohammed, who was described by a Pakistani military
spokesman as an agent of Al Qaeda. More than 100 people were killed, including
some 20 Pakistani soldiers. Also in early June, authorities in South Waziristan
shuttered more than 6,000 merchant shops in an effort to use economic pressure
against tribesmen who are providing shelter to foreign militants. The South
Waziristan Agency Chief Administrator has said that the Islamabad government
would continue enforcing economic sanctions on the region until its demands were
met, including the handover of two wanted tribal militants, Maulvi Abbas and
Mohammed Javed. As of late July, sporadic and lethal clashes between Pakistani
soldiers and Islamic militants continue in the border areas, and Pakistan’s Islamist
political leaders continue to demand an end to military operations in the FATA. On
July 29, some nine months after such military operations began, Pakistan announced

having captured a genuine high-value target, Tanzanian national Ahmed Khalfan
Ghailani, who had appeared on the FBI’s most-wanted list after his indictment for
murder in connection with the 1998 bombings of two American Embassies in East
In mid-June 2004, a Pakistan Army spokesman drew direct links between a six-
week-long spate of mostly sectarian bombings and killings in Karachi and
government efforts to root out militants in South Waziristan. At least 72 people were
killed between May 3 and June 10, including ten murdered when suspected Islamic
militants attacked the motorcade of a top Pakistani Army commander in Karachi (the
general was unharmed). The attacks raised concerns that the Musharraf government
is finding it difficult to control domestic extremism, especially among some elements
of Pakistan’s security apparatus, itself. Late-July reports that the Pakistani
government is again seeking to resolve conflict in its western regions through
accommodation with militants (based on the Shakai agreement) suggest that
Islamabad may be confounded by the continued and vehement resistance being
shown in the face of military operations.
U.S. Anti-Terrorist Operations in Afghanistan6
The U.S.-led war in Afghanistan that began October 7, 2001 (Operation
Enduring Freedom, OEF) — in the immediate aftermath of Al Qaeda’s September
11, 2001 attacks on the United States — sought to deny Afghanistan as a base of
operations for Al Qaeda by overthrowing the Taliban leadership of that country. The
Taliban had come to power in Kabul in 1996 and had refused repeated U.S. requests
to expel Al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan, including Al Qaeda founder Osama bin
Laden. As a result of the war, the Taliban government collapsed in November 2001,
leading to the establishment of a pro-U.S. government led by President Hamid
Karzai. The United States is attempting to promote stability and, in so doing, keep
Afghanistan inhospitable to any regrouping of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or other
terrorist groups. The pillars of the security effort are (1) OEF combat operations; (2)
patrols by a U.N.-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF); (3) the
formation of “provincial reconstruction teams;” (4) the establishment and training
of an Afghan National Army and a police force; and (5) the demobilization of local
OEF is a U.S.-led combat mission against Al Qaeda and Taliban remnants that
are still active primarily in southern and eastern Afghanistan. Al Qaeda militants
reportedly want to regroup in parts of Afghanistan to train and plan terrorist attacks,
while Taliban fighters want to discredit the Karzai government and hopefully regain
power in Afghanistan. OEF forces do not conduct “peacekeeping” missions or
routinely patrol Afghan neighborhoods; that role is left to ISAF, which operates in
Kabul and Konduz and is planning to expand to other cities as well. The United
States maintains about 17,000 OEF troops in Afghanistan, and coalition forces are
contributing another 2,000 to OEF. Although the main focus of U.S. operations is
in sparsely populated areas where the Taliban and Al Qaeda still operate, some

6 This section was prepared by Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, on
July 29, 2004

militants have infiltrated Afghan cities to commit terrorist attacks, such as a
September 5, 2002 car bombing in a crowded marketplace in Kabul, and a virtually
simultaneous assassination attempt against President Karzai. Other urban terrorist
attacks attributed to Taliban activists include the bombing of a marketplace in
Qandahar on December 5, 2003, and two February 2004 suicide bombings against
ISAF troops in Kabul.
To combat these threats, OEF forces, in partnership with U.S.-trained troops of
a reborn “Afghan National Army (ANA),” are almost constantly on the offensive,
particularly in Qandahar province and the several provinces north of it; Qandahar had
been the power base of the Taliban. About 2,000 U.S. troops participated in one of
the largest anti-Taliban sweeps (“Operation Avalanche, December 8 - 30, 2003)
conducted since the fall of the Taliban. During March-July 2004, 2,400 U.S.
Marines, along with ANA soldiers, conducted “Operation Mountain Storm” against
Taliban remnants in and around Uruzgan province, the home province of Mullah
Omar. The Marines departed Afghanistan in late July 2004 at the conclusion of the
operation. Other significant operations against militants have taken place in
southeastern Afghanistan since May 2004 as part of a planned “spring offensive.”
Another sweep operation began in mid-July 2004 to help secure the scheduled
October 9, 2004, presidential election. OEF forces continue to hunt in Afghanistan
and possibly over the border into Pakistan for bin Laden. He reportedly escaped the
U.S.-Afghan offensive against the Al Qaeda stronghold of Tora Bora in eastern
Afghanistan in December 2001.
Another target of OEF is the faction of Afghan Islamist leader Gulbuddin
Hikmatyar — a major leader of the anti-Soviet resistance during the 1980s and who
is now allied with Al Qaeda and Taliban remnants. Hikmatyar’s traditional power
base is in and around the eastern city of Jalalabad, where his insurgent followers are
active. On February 19, 2003, the U.S. government formally designated Hikmatyar
as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist,” under the authority of Executive Order
13224. That order subjected named terrorists and terrorist-related institutions to
financial and other U.S. sanctions. His group, Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), was
analyzed in the section on “other terrorist groups” in the State Department’s report
on international terrorism for 2003, released April 30, 2004. The group is not
formally designated as a “foreign terrorist organization.”
Some U.S. commanders say the combat has caused the Taliban-led insurgency
to “lose energy” and that fewer than 1,000 Taliban (and Al Qaeda) fighters remain
in Afghanistan.7 The commander of OEF, U.S. Gen. David Barno, said in February
2004 that U.S. forces were now attempting to cultivate relations with the population
in areas where Taliban and other insurgents operate, in order to better conduct
counter-insurgency missions.

7 NATO: Afghan Rebellion Fading. Dallas Morning News, February 11, 2004.

Arabian Peninsula8
The Arabian Peninsula, covering more than 1.2 million square miles including
some rugged mountainous and desert terrain, provides a potential sanctuary for
members of Islamist terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. Poorly demarcated borders
(until recently, often undemarcated borders) between the seven states comprising the
Arabian Peninsula are easy to traverse, facilitating movement of people seeking to
avoid detection. The two largest and most populous Arabian Peninsula states, the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Yemen, are experiencing political,
economic, and demographic pressures that have fostered discontent, especially
among younger generations. Furthermore, many people in both countries are
attracted to Islamic fundamentalism, sometimes in its more violent manifestations,
and are often hostile to western and non-Muslim influences or to local governments
deemed to be cooperating with non-Muslim nations.
These factors have created fertile ground for recruitment by Al Qaeda, its
affiliates, and like-minded organizations. Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is a
former Saudi citizen (his citizenship was revoked in 1994) and his ancestors came
from a remote part of Yemen, where he still has relatives. Many members of terrorist
groups in these countries were recruited by bin Laden to fight the Soviet occupation
of Afghanistan, where they acquired their initial military training and experience.
According to news reports, a newer generation of veterans, who fought against U.S.
forces in Iraq, are supplementing the ranks of terrorist groups formerly filled by the
so-called “Afghan Arabs.”9
Saudi Arabia. The September 11, 2001 attacks kindled criticisms within the
United States of alleged official Saudi involvement in terrorism or of Saudi laxity in
acting against terrorist groups. A high percentage of the hijackers (15 out of 19) were
Saudi nationals. Some maintain that Saudi domestic and foreign policies have
created a climate that may have contributed to terrorist acts by Islamic radicals. For
example, some believe that the Saudi regime has fostered international terrorism by
funding religious schools (madrasas) that, in some cases, propagate extreme forms
of Islam and advocate violence. Critics of Saudi policies have also cited a
multiplicity of reports that the Saudi government has permitted or encouraged fund
raising in Saudi Arabia by charitable Islamic groups and foundations linked to Al
Qaeda. (For more information, see CRS Report RL32499, Saudi Arabia: Terrorist
Financing Issues, July 28, 2004.) Saudi officials maintain that they are working
closely with the United States to combat terrorism, which they say is aimed as much
at the Saudi regime as it is at the United States.
U.S. efforts against Al Qaeda’s presence in Saudi Arabia have generally
involved intelligence sharing, technical assistance, encouragement of Saudi efforts
to apprehend key people in terrorist groups, cutting the flow of funds to these groups,
and enacting new laws to improve oversight of charitable donations to ensure that
they are not diverted to terrorist activity. Some specific U.S. or Saudi measures

8 This section was prepared by Alfred B. Prados, Specialist in Middle East Affairs.
9 Whitlock, Craig, “Saudis Facing Return of Radicals,” The Washington Post, July 11, 2004,
p. A1.

include the following: (1) Establishment of a joint U.S.-Saudi task force to conduct
an on-going investigation of terrorist financing in Saudi Arabia, through scrutiny of
bank accounts, computer records, and other financial data. (2) Several joint actions
against a large Saudi-based charity accused of involvement in terrorist financing (“the
Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation”), leading to the closure of this charity and a
request by the two countries that it be added to a consolidated U.N. list of terrorist
entities tied to Al Qaeda. (3) Continued support for Saudi security forces, including
the Saudi Armed Forces and the National Guard. A small number of U.S. military
advisory personnel have remained in the kingdom since the withdrawal of U.S. forces
after the Iraq war. Also, the Bush Administration requested a small amount —
$25,000 — for Saudi Arabia under the International Military Education and Training
(IMET) Program in FY2005, to encourage continued Saudi attendance at U.S.
military service schools.10 In addition, the Saudi government has promulgated new
laws and regulations to outlaw money laundering, ban cash collections at mosques,
centralize control over charitable collections, close unlicenced money exchanges, and
scrutinize clerics involved in charitable collections.
According to the U.S. State Department, since May 2003 an increase in terrorist
acts that killed Saudi nationals as well as U.S. and other expatriates appears to have
galvanized Saudi authorities into a more proactive stance in confronting terrorist
groups in Saudi Arabia.11 In June 2004, Saudi security officials killed Abd al-Aziz
Muqrin, leader of an apparent Al Qaeda offshoot known as “Al- Qaeda on the
Arabian Peninsula”, which had claimed responsibility for several terrorist acts in
2004, along with two senior financial operatives of Al Qaeda. Results of Saudi
police work have been mixed; of 26 terrorists on the Saudi Government’s most-
wanted list, 12 reportedly remain at large.12 According to a recent report, Saudi
government forces appear to be conducting a major campaign in southwestern Saudi
Arabia near the Yemen border.13
Yemen. As an underdeveloped country where tribal leaders often exert more
control than do central government authorities, Yemen has long been the scene of
random violence and kidnaping; there are an estimated 60 million firearms among14
a population of less than 20 million. The prevailing climate of lawlessness in much
of Yemen has provided opportunities for terrorist groups to maintain a presence in
outlying areas of the country. Some Al Qaeda sympathizers and operatives are

10 Saudi Arabia has received the same amount of aid under IMET since FY2001. However
Sec. 575, of P.L.108-447, the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY2005 stipulated that
none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to this act could be
obligated or expended to finance any assistance to Saudi Arabia. The President may waive
the prohibition if he certifies that Saudi Arabia is cooperating with efforts to combat
international terrorism and that the proposed assistance will help that effort.
11 U.S. Department of State, Patterns of Global Terrorism, 2003. Washington, April 29,


12 Whitlock, Craig, “Saudis Facing Return of Radicals,” The Washington Post, July 11,

2004, p. A21.

13 Dunn, Michael Collins, “The Saudi Violence,” The Estimate, June 14, 2004, pp. 1,11.
14 John R. Bradley, “Bad Fences,” The New Republic, March 1, 2004.

believed to be located in an eastern province of Yemen, which is the ancestral home
of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and the United States has linked Al Qaeda to
the October 2000 bombing of the U.S. Navy Ship U.S.S. Cole while it was refueling
in the southern Yemeni port of Aden. A similar attack on a French oil tanker near
the southern Yemeni port of Mukalla in October 2002 was praised by bin Laden,15
and many attribute that attack to Al Qaeda.
U.S. officials initially complained that Yemeni authorities did not fully
cooperate in the investigation of the Cole bombing. Since the September 2001
attacks, however, and perhaps because Al Qaeda attacks have continued in Yemen,
President Salih has been more forthcoming in his cooperation with the U.S. campaign
to suppress Al Qaeda. He reportedly allowed small groups of U.S. Special Forces
troops and CIA agents to assist in identifying and rooting out Al Qaeda cadres hiding
in Yemen, despite sympathy for Al Qaeda among many Yemenis. According to press
articles quoting U.S. and Yemeni officials, the Yemeni Government allowed U.S.
personnel to launch a missile strike from an unmanned (“Predator”) aircraft against
an automobile in eastern Yemen in November 2002, killing six passengers believed
to be terrorists including Qaid Salim Sinan al-Harithi, a key planner of the attack on
the U.S.S. Cole.16 In its most recent annual publication Patterns of Global Terrorism
2003, released on April 29, 2004, the U.S. State Department credits the Yemeni
Government with having “continued to cooperate with US law enforcement and to
take action against al-Qaida [alternate transcription] and local extremists in 2003.”
Yemeni authorities have arrested several suspected members of Al Qaeda in late
2003 and early 2004. The Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigade, an alleged Al Qaeda affiliate
which took responsibility for the March 2004 Madrid bombings, reportedly described
Yemen as its next target in retaliation for the detention of Al Qaeda members by
Yemeni authorities.17
The United States has also sought to weaken Al Qaeda through a modest aid
program for Yemen’s security forces. The Bush Administration has requested $15
million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Yemen, together with 1.1 million
under the International Military Education and Training (IMET) Program. Some of
the FMF funds will support development of a Coast Guard, designed to patrol
Yemen’s extensive coast line (extending nearly 1,200 miles) and territorial waters
and to help interdict the entry of terrorists.
The Smaller Arab Gulf Monarchies18
Findings of the 9/11 Commission. The 9/11 Commission Report’s detailed
accounting of an Al Qaeda presence in some smaller Persian Gulf monarchies
demonstrates how terrorists have used these countries both to find safe haven and to
conduct logistical operations. One of the main terrorist masterminds behind the

15 “Bin Laden hails ‘heroic’ anti-Western attacks,” Reuters News Wire, Oct. 14, 2002.
16 Peter Willems, “Yemen: The Stakes Are Higher,” The Middle East, March 2003, p. 25.
17 Ahmed al-Haj (Associated Press), “Nine Arrested In Cole Bombing,” The Washington
Times, March 17, 2004.
18 This section was prepared by Jeremy Sharp, Analyst in Middle East Affairs.

September 11, 2001 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was briefly housed in Qatar
during the mid- 1990s and evaded capture there after being tipped off by a member
of the Qatari royal family. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), more than any other
small Persian Gulf monarchy, was frequently used by terrorist plotters to move funds
around the globe, acquire foreign visas and passports, and shelter terrorists moving
between Afghanistan and the Middle East. According to the Commission Report,
“the United Arab Emirates was both a valued counterterrorism ally of the United
States and a persistent counterterrorism problem,” due to its simultaneous policy of
keeping behind the scenes contacts with the Taliban in Afghanistan while
cooperating with U.S. counter terrorist officials.19
Actions Taken. Over the past three years, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and
the UAE have cooperated with U.S. officials and have been praised by the State
Department for monitoring and arresting suspected terrorists and for implementing
various policies to curb terrorist financing. All of the aforementioned countries have
taken, in varying degrees, the following steps to deny terrorists sanctuary:
!Shared information on the operational level with U.S. intelligence
!Hired auditors to review donations to state and some private
charitable organizations
!Frozen terrorist bank accounts
!Implemented financial surveillance systems in some banks to detect
suspicious transactions
!Passed new anti-money laundering regulations
!Arrested and detained suspected terrorists, including the UAE’s

2003 arrest of Al Qaeda operative Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

Challenges Ahead. Despite the marked improvement in Gulf cooperation in
the war on terrorism, certain challenges remain. From a financial standpoint, there
is still the potential for wealthy individuals, both within and outside of royal families,
to make illicit contributions to terrorist groups. Despite curbs on terrorist financing,
analysts believe that there is an undercurrent of resentment against the United States
among many Gulf citizens and that motivated donors could exploit weaknesses or
lapses in government oversight of the banking sector. In addition, many Gulf
countries are heterogenous societies, composed of Gulf Arabs, Persians, Arabs from
other parts of the Middle East, and Southeast Asians who are drawn to the Gulf for
its high paying jobs. With such ethnic diversity, it can be easy for terrorists to
infiltrate some parts of the Gulf. Finally, observers note that even if Gulf states are
effective in denying sanctuary to international terrorists, there is still the problem of
“homegrown” terrorism, which many observers believe could be a more serious
problem in the years to come. In order to preempt the development of new terrorist
movements in the Gulf, some advocate the adoption of certain social and economic
reforms in order to improve local education systems and provide more opportunities
for gainful employment of young people. Some Gulf states have taken small steps

19 The UAE was one of three governments to officially recognize the Taliban regime in
Afghanistan. The Commission Report noted that the UAE maintained its ties to the Taliban
as a bulwark against the threat of Iranian Shiite-inspired terrorist groups.

toward reform while taking more overt steps to curb extremism by demanding that
religious leaders encourage more tolerance and cut down on vitriol against the United
States in weekly sermons.
Southeast Asia20
Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States has considered
Southeast Asia to be a “second front” in its global campaign against Islamist
terrorism.21 Indonesia and the southern Philippines have been particularly vulnerable
to penetration by anti-American Islamic terrorist groups. Indonesia and Malaysia are
majority Muslim states; the southern Philippines has a sizeable and historically
alienated and separatist-minded Muslim minority; and southern Thailand has
majority Muslim/ethnic Malay populated-areas with long-standing separatist
aspirations. Since the attacks, U.S. attention in the region has been focused on Al
Qaeda’s activities in Southeast Asia, which — as documented in the 9/11
Commission Report — played a critical role in the network’s rise. Al Qaeda has
used its Southeast Asia cells to help organize and finance its global activities —
including the September 11 attacks — and to provide safe harbor to Al Qaeda
operatives, such as the convicted organizer of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade
Center, Ramzi Yousef.
U.S. attention also has been focused on indigenous radical Islamist groups in
Southeast Asia, particularly the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist network, that are
known or alleged to have ties to Al Qaeda. Many of these groups threaten the status
quo of the region by seeking to create independent Islamic states in majority-Muslim
areas, overthrow existing secular governments, and/or establish a new supra-national
Islamic state encompassing Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the southern Philippines,
and southern Thailand.22 In pursuit of these objectives, they have planned and
carried out violent attacks against civilian and non-civilian targets, including
American and other Western institutions. These include the deadliest terrorist attack
since September 2001: the October 12, 2002 bombing in Bali, Indonesia, that killed
approximately 200 people, mostly Westerners.
To combat the threat, the Bush Administration has pressed countries in the
region to arrest suspected terrorist individuals and organizations, deployed over 1,000
troops to the southern Philippines to advise the Philippine military in their fight
against the violent Abu Sayyaf Group, increased intelligence sharing operations,
restarted military-military relations with Indonesia (including restoring International
Military Education and Training [IMET]), and provided or requested from Congress
over $1 billion in aid to Indonesia and the Philippines. The most noteworthy

20 Prepared by Mark Manyin, Emma Chanlett-Avery, Richard Cronin, Larry Niksch, and
Bruce Vaughn. See CRS Report RL31672, Terrorism in Southeast Asia.
21 In the days after the September 11 attacks, at least one senior Pentagon official floated
the idea of taking military action against terrorist targets in Southeast Asia as a “surprise”
alternative to attacking Afghanistan. The 9/11 Commission Report, p.559, note 75; Douglas
Feith, “A War Plan That Cast A Wide Net,” Washington Post, August 7, 2004.
22 The 9/11 Commission Report.

successes have been in the area of law enforcement: hundreds of JI members have
been arrested, reportedly crippling the network’s ability and possibly reducing its
ability to carry out large-scale attacks against Western targets in the near future.
The responses of countries in the region to both the threat and to the U.S.
reaction generally have varied with the intensity of their concerns about the threat to
their own stability and domestic politics. In general, Singapore, Malaysia, and the
Philippines were quick to crack down on militant groups and share intelligence with
the United States and Australia, whereas Indonesia began to do so only after attacks
or arrests revealed the severity of the threat to their citizens. That said, combating
anti-American terrorism in Southeast Asia presents the Bush Administration and
Congress with a delicate foreign policy problem. Most regional governments feel
threatened by home-grown or imported Islamic militant groups and therefore have
ample incentive to cooperate with the U.S. antiterrorist campaign. However,
Southeast Asian governments have to balance these security concerns with domestic
political considerations. Although proponents of violent, radical Islam remain a
small minority in Southeast Asia, many governments view increased American
pressure and military presence in their region with ambivalence because of the
political sensitivity of the issue with both mainstream Islamic and secular nationalist
groups. The rise in anti-American sentiment propelled by the U.S.-led invasion and
occupation of Iraq makes it even more difficult for most governments to countenance
an overt U.S. role in their internal security. The challenge is to find a way to confront
the terrorist elements without turning them into heroes or martyrs in the broader
Southeast Asian Islamic community. Furthermore, the continued activities of Al
Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah will require a coordinated, international response in a
region where multinational institutions and cooperation are weak.
Strategies for Combating Terrorism in Southeast Asia. To date the
U.S. approach to fighting terrorism in Southeast Asia primarily has been bilateral —
rather than multilateral — in nature, and generally has been limited to the law
enforcement — rather than the military — realm. In the near term, barring another
major terrorist attack, it is difficult to foresee these features of U.S. strategy changing
since they are based upon features of international relations in Southeast Asia:
relatively weak multilateral institutions, the poor history of multilateral cooperation,
and the wariness on the part of most regional governments of being perceived as
working too closely with the United States. Rectifying these deficiencies could be
elements of the long-term goal of competing against terrorist ideologies.
Decapitation. The 9/11 Commission recommends conceptualizing the battle
against Islamist terrorism as a two-pronged campaign on the one hand aimed at
disrupting the leadership of Al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah, and like-minded terrorist
networks and on the other hand competing against the rise of radical ideologies
within the Islamic world that inspire terrorism.23 To date, U.S. policy in Southeast
Asia necessarily has been focused on the first goal, which is more immediate and
requires an emphasis on the policy tools necessary to kill and capture specific
individuals, locate and destroy terrorist training facilities, and identify terrorist
financing networks. Thus far, extensive cooperation among police and intelligence

23 The 9/11 Commission Report, p.361-365.

services have netted over 200 of JI’s leaders, and is thought to have crippled JI’s
capabilities significantly. However, JI’s network-based structure and its suspected
ability to reconstitute its leadership means that arrests alone are unlikely to cause the
network to collapse.
Capacity Building. The second goal is more complex, for essentially it aims
at reducing the appeal of violent Islamism by strengthening national governments’
ability to provide their Muslim citizens with an attractive alternative. Although
Southeast Asian societies and governments in general are more tolerant,
representative, and responsive than those in the Middle East and South Asia, Islamist
terrorist groups have been able to exploit the sense of alienation produced in part by
the corruption and breakdown of institutional authority in Indonesia and by the
marginalization of minority Muslim groups in the southern Philippines and southern
Thailand. Strategies for dealing with this problem include a greater emphasis on
attacking the institutions that support terrorism, and building up regional
governments’ institutional capacities for combating terrorist groups and for reducing24
the sense of alienation among Muslim citizens. Options include:
!Placing priority on discovering and destroying terrorist training
centers, which have proven extremely important to JI and the
Philippine separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF), which is believed to be providing JI with terrorist training25
camps on Mindanao;
!Strengthening the capacities of local government’s judicial systems,
through training and perhaps funding, in an effort to reduce the
corruption and politicization of the judicial process;
!Work with Indonesia, the Philippines, and other countries to better
manage communal tensions and identify religious flash points before
they erupt. Sectarian violence has proven to be fertile ground for JI
and other terrorist groups to recruit and raise funds;26
!Building up state-run schools, so that Muslims are less likely to send
their children to radical madrassas where extremist brands of Islam
are propagated. The 9/11 Commission recommends creating a new
multilateral “International Youth Opportunity Fund” that would seek
to improve primary and secondary education in Muslim27
communities. The Bush Administration moved in this direction in
October 2003, when it launched a $157 million program to help

24 Zachary Abuza, “Funding Terrorism in Southeast Asia: The Financial Network of Al
Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah,” NBR Analysis, December 2003, p. 10-11.
25 Sidney Jones, “Indonesia Backgrounder: Jihad in Central Sulawesi,” International Crisis
Group Report No74, February 3, 2004,” p. ii.
26 Sidney Jones, “Terrorism In Southeast Asia, More Than Just JI,” Asian Wall Street
Journal, July 29, 2004.
27 The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 378.

improve the quality of Indonesian schools. The initiative has been
criticized on the grounds that unlike in Pakistan and the Middle East,
where madrassas often are the best opportunity for an education, in
Southeast Asia, many JI members hail from the middle class, and
most recruitment appears to occur in mosques or on university
cam puses; 28
!Pursuing policies, such as negotiating free trade agreements and
promoting the multilateral Doha Development Agenda trade talks,
that encourage economic development, as recommended by the 9/11
Commission and others;29
!Building up the capabilities of countries’ coast guards and navies to
better combat piracy, gun running, and other types of smuggling,
particularly in the Straits of Malacca and the waters between
Sulawesi and the southern Philippines. The U.S. military could play
a role here, perhaps in coordinating with Japan, the Coast Guard of
which has been conducting bilateral exercises with selected
Southeast Asian countries. Two difficulties are that Malaysia only
recently established a Coast Guard, and Indonesia has nearly a dozen
agencies that claim responsibility for guarding Indonesian waters, in
which about one-quarter of the world’s piracy incidents occurred in


!Assisting in developing frameworks such as harmonized extradition
agreements and evidentiary standards to more effectively prosecute
terrorists and facilitate investigations and data sharing with regional
!The 9/11 Commission argues that tracking terrorism financing “must
remain front and center in U.S. counterterrorism efforts.”
Notwithstanding increased police cooperation, most Southeast Asian
countries do not appear to have made commensurate efforts to
locate, freeze, and at a minimum disrupt the flow of the assets of
Islamic terrorist groups. As of December 2003, no terrorist funds
had been seized in the region, despite assessments by U.S. officials
that Al Qaeda has increasingly relied on Southeast Asia to move its
money and hide its assets because authorities in the Middle East
have heightened scrutiny of the network’s operations. Indonesia, the
Philippines, and Burma remain on the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development’s list of “Non-Cooperative
Countries” in the fight against money laundering. Although shutting
down informal financing mechanisms such as cash donations and the
informal hawala system of transferring money would be next to
impossible, feasible actions include shutting down charities linked

28 Jones, “Terrorism In Southeast Asia, More Than Just JI.”
29 The 9/11 Commission Report, p.378-79; Robert Zoellick, “Countering Terror With
Trade,” The Washington Post, September 20, 2001.

to terrorist groups, monitoring front companies and legitimate
businesses linked to terrorist groups, and establishing a regional
clearing house for intelligence sharing.30 Concurrently, monitoring
of terrorist money can be used as an important intelligence tool to
better understand how terrorist networks operate.31
U.S. Public Diplomacy. Ultimately, convincing regional governments to
increase anti-terrorism cooperation will depend upon reducing the political costs of
doing so. Muslim Southeast Asia currently is undergoing something of a spiritual
awakening, with Islamic consciousness rising and influencing the opinion of
moderate Muslims. Polls indicate that U.S. actions in the Middle East, particularly
in Israel and Iraq, have led to a steep rise in anti-Americanism making overt
cooperation with U.S. counterterrorism operations more difficult, as increasing
numbers of Muslims in Southeast Asia see U.S. policy as anti-Muslim. Singapore’s
Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, for instance, has argued that “a more balanced and
nuanced approach [by the United States] towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ...
must become a central pillar to the war on terrorism” in order to maintain credibility
in Southeast Asia.32 Additionally, there appears to be a perception among some
Southeast Asians that the United States has relied too heavily on “hard” (military)
power to combat terrorism, not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in Southeast
Asia. While these perceptions of an overly militaristic U.S. response in Southeast
Asia may be overblown — particularly by being colored by U.S. politics in the
Middle East — they may indicate a disconnect between the United States approach
to the war on terror and its regional friends and allies. Such a division has the
potential to limit the degree to which regional states will cooperate with the United
States in the war on terror.
To counter these sentiments, the United States could expand its public
diplomacy programs in Southeast Asia to at least provide an explanation for U.S.
actions in the region and other parts of the world. Many of these programs were
reduced significantly in the 1990s, after the end of the Cold War. The 9/11
Commission specifically recommends increasing funding to the Broadcasting Board
of Governors, the independent but government-financed agency that is responsible
for all U.S. government and government sponsored, non-military, international33
broadcasting, including the Voice of America (VOA). Applied to Southeast Asia,
such as step could include expanding VOA’s existing Indonesian language
broadcasts and adding broadcasts in Javanese and other Indonesian dialects, as well
as in Malay and Tagalog.

30 Abuza, “Funding Terrorism in Southeast Asia,” p. 56-68.
31 The 9/11 Commission Report, p.382.
32 Muray Hiebert and Barry Wain, “Same Planet, Different World,” Far Eastern Economic
Review, June 17, 2004.
33 The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 375-77.

Africa and International Terrorism34
Overview. International terrorist organizations continue to use Africa as a
safe-haven, staging area, or transit point to target U.S. interests. African leaders face
daunting challenges in dealing with growing international terrorist threats, as well as
increasing domestic terror activities by extremist groups. Africa’s counterterrorism
response has included stepping up law enforcement and intelligence efforts, as well
as developing domestic anti-terrorism legislation. Countries in the Horn of Africa —
Djibouti, Kenya, Eritrea, and Ethiopia — have taken steps, often with U.S.
assistance, to counter the terror threat by strengthening air transit and airport security
capacities and by training special anti-terrorist units. The subregion is focusing on
countering coastal and maritime terrorist activities as part of the U.S.-led Combined
Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) mission, which is aimed at “detecting,
disrupting, and defeating” international terrorist groups.
Despite these efforts, the risk of terrorism in many African countries remains
high. In November 2002, Kenya became the site of another terrorist attack, just four
years after the U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. In June 2003, the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a warning on illicit trafficking
of materials commonly used for making dirty bombs. Subsequently, an IAEA team
was sent to Nigeria and Tanzania to investigate the seized materials. In addition to
East Africa, the Sahel region of Africa has grown vulnerable to terrorism. In
September 2003, the South Africa Institute of Security Studies reported that, since
1990, terrorist attacks have claimed the lives of some 6,000 Africans (20% of deaths
caused by international terrorist attacks). Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda groups in
Africa have a presence in a number of African countries, especially in Kenya and
Somalia. Clear indications for claims that terrorist groups have sought or may seek
sanctuary in certain West African countries, such as Nigeria, are generally lacking,
while there are some indications that international terrorists may have undertaken
operational activities in others, such as Sierra Leone or Liberia, though evidence for
such claims is contested. In general, the international terror threat against U.S. and
local national interests is likely to continue to grow in several parts of Africa because
of porous borders, lax security, political instability, and a lack of state resources and
Somalia. In late September 2001, the Bush Administration added Al-Ittihad,
a Somali-based group, to a list of terrorism-related entities whose assets were ordered
frozen by a presidential Executive Order. Bush Administration officials accused
Al-Ittihad of links with Al Qaeda. The Administration did not offer evidence to prove
its allegations, but some officials asserted that links between the two organizations
dated back to the U.S. presence in Somalia during Operation Restore Hope
(1992-1994). In early November 2001, federal authorities raided several
Somali-owned money transfer businesses in the U.S. operated by Al-Barakaat
Companies. The Bush Administration ordered the assets of al-Barakaat frozen
because of its alleged links to Al Qaeda. U.S. officials, however, subsequently

34 Overview and sections on Somalia, Kenya and the Sahel prepared by Ted Dagne,
Specialist in International Relations. Sections on the Mano River countries and Nigeria by
Nicolas Cook, Analyst in African Affairs.

appeared to back off from their earlier assertion that Al-Barakaat and individuals
associated with the money transfer business sector are directly linked to Al Qaeda.
In September 2002, U.S. officials cleared three Somalis and three Al-Barakaat
branches accused of ties with Al Qaeda. The three individuals and businesses were
de-listed from the U.S. Treasury list of terrorist supporters and their assets were also
unfrozen. In early December 2001, American officials reportedly visited Baidoa,
Somalia and met with faction leaders and Ethiopian military officers. The purpose
of the one-day visit was not acknowledged by Washington, but reporters in the region
stated that these officials asked about terrorist networks in Somalia. Bush
Administration officials are concerned that Al Qaeda members may flee to Somalia
from Afghanistan. The United States and its allies have intensified their search for
Al Qaeda members in the Horn of Africa. U.S. allies are searching fishing boats and
vessels off the coast of Somalia. U.S. surveillance planes have been flying over
Somalia. In March 2002, Germany reportedly deployed six ships and several
thousand troops to the Horn of Africa to monitor and intercept terrorists and prevent
them from establishing bases in the region. In 2003-2004, Ethiopia arrested a
number of non-Somali terror suspects from Somalia. The absence of a central
government in Somalia is one of the major factors that makes Somalia potentially
attractive to international terrorist organizations.
Kenya. The East African country is the only country in sub-Saharan Africa with
a current known Al Qaeda presence. Kenya suffered two major terrorist attacks in
the last six years. On November 28, 2002, simultaneous terrorists’ attacks struck
Mombasa, Kenya just four years after the 1998 embassy bombings. Suicide bombers
drove a four-wheel drive vehicle packed with explosives into the Israeli-owned
Paradise Hotel in Mombasa, killing 10 Kenyans and three Israelis. Minutes earlier,
terrorists fired two shoulder-fired missiles that missed an Israeli passenger plane
taking off from the Mombasa airport. The 261 passengers on board the carrier
escaped injury, and the plane landed safely in Tel Aviv. Observers assert that the
synchronized attacks illustrate a common tactic linking both the 1998 and 2002
terrorists’ incidents. Suicide bombing against “soft” targets appear consistent with
those carried out in Saudi Arabia and Morocco in May 2003. In June 2003, Kenyan
authorities announced that four people were charged with murder for the hotel
bombings.35 Other suspects include Fazul Abduallah Mohammed (a.k.a., Abdul
Karim) and Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan. Mohammed was also named in connection with
the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, and is on the U.S. Federal Bureau of
Investigation’s list of 22 most wanted terror suspects. Mohammed and Nabhan
remain at-large, but are believed to be in the region, according to Kenyan36
authorities. Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attacks, according to a
message posted by the Political Office of Al Qaeda Jihad Organization.37 U.S.
officials view the message as credible, though it apparently has not been

35 “Five men arrested on suspicion of being al Qaida operatives in Malawi,” Associated
Press, June 23, 2003.
36 “Mombasa nightclub attacked,”BBC News, December 18, 2002,
[]; accessed July 25, 2003.
37 “Al Qaeda claims responsibility for Kenya attacks,”, December 3, 2002 and
“CDI Terrorism Report: Al Qaeda Attempts to Widen War,” CDI Terrorism Project, CDI,
[]; accessed July 25, 2003.

authenticated. Israeli authorities believe that Somalia was used as a rear base to carry
out the attacks. Kenyan authorities further suspect that the missiles were likely
smuggled through Somalia. A recent U.N. report apparently supports these claims,
suggesting that “Al-Qaida operatives ... trained, plotted, and obtained weapons in
neighboring Somalia.”38
The Sahel Region. The United States has been actively engaged in
counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel region over the past several years. Algerian
terrorist groups with ties to Al Qaeda have been active in the Sahel region. The
region has been cooperating with U.S. efforts and is participating in the U.S.-led Pan
Sahel Initiative (PSI). In 2002, the Department of State launched the PSI program,
an effort intended to establish rapid response border control units to counterterrorism
and trafficking in goods and persons, and enhance regional peace and security
cooperation in Chad, Niger, Mauritania, and Mali.
In mid-May 2004, a rebel group in Chad stated that it has captured an Algerian
terrorist with ties to Al Qaeda. The Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad
claimed it was holding Amari Saifi, a leader of the Salafist Group for Preaching and
Combat, a group fighting for an Islamic state in Algeria. In 2003, Saifi was accused
of killing 43 Algerian soldiers and kidnaping 32 Europeans. According to press
reports, Germany paid $6 million in ransom for the hostages’ freedom. In early 2004,
U.S. officials stated that Saifi was operating in West Africa, especially in Mali and
Mauritania. Under military pressure, he reportedly moved to Chad. Saifi was
captured with nine other followers, and seven more people were later captured,
according to press reports.
West Africa
Nigeria. While Nigeria could potentially provide sanctuary for terrorists, as
suggested by the 9/11 Commission report, at present such an outcome appears to be
only a theoretical possibility. No international terrorist groups, suspects, or
international radical Islamic militants have been publicly reported to have a presence
in Nigeria, and Nigerian officials have issued press statements indicating that they39
do not believe that the Al Qaeda organization is active in the country. While Nigeria
has a large Muslim population that includes some radical elements and supporters of40
Salafist-oriented theologies, as well as numerous self-professed admirers of Osama
bin Laden, religion-linked threats to Nigerian national security have primarily taken
the form of recurrent Muslim-Christian violence in central and northern Nigeria and
in the commercial capital, Lagos. Diverse criminal acts and armed confrontations
related to socio-economic inequities and local political claims — sometimes likened
to acts of terrorism — are common in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

38 England, Andrew, “U.N. Report: al-Qaida Trained in Somalia,” Associated Press,
November 4, 2003.
39 “AAGM: ‘No Al-Qaeda Cells Here’,” This Day (Nigeria), Mar. 9, 2004
40 Militant, armed Salafist groups have been implicated in kidnapings and other criminal acts
in countries in the Sahel; see discussion above. On Salafist beliefs, see CRS Report
RS21695, The Islamic Traditions of Wahhabism and Salafiyya, by Febe Armanios.

Despite the lack of evidence that an international terrorist presence exists in Nigeria,
it is possible that such actors could begin to view Nigeria, particularly its oil
production and export facilities, as a strategic target, both for armed attack operations
and as a base for building political support or recruiting followers. The potential for
such an outcome is suggested by a comment attributed to Usama bin Laden, who in
a taped message labeled Nigeria, along with Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi
Arabia, and Yemen, as being among “the most qualified regions for [religious and
political] liberation.”41
Liberia and Sierra Leone. Press reports, evidence in court cases, policy
analyses, and U.N. reports, among other sources, suggest that international terrorist
groups may have sojourned in Liberia and traveled to Sierra Leone in order to buy42
rough diamonds, reportedly for use in terrorist financing activities. In one instance,
it is alleged that Al Qaeda operatives visited northeast Sierra Leone, entering the43
country from neighboring Liberia, to purchase such diamonds. The arrival and stay
in Liberia of the Al Qaeda representatives and their subsequent visits to Sierra Leone
were allegedly facilitated by officials of the government of the then-president of
Liberia, Charles Taylor, and members of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a
now defunct Sierra Leonean rebel group. The operatives were allegedly based at and
operated out of a Liberian government-protected safe-house in the Liberian capital,
A second alleged example of the use of West Africa as a base for providing
support to terrorist groups is more diffuse, indirect, and long-standing. Diverse
observers of West Africa, including some U.S. government officials, assert that some
members of the large, often multi-generational and permanent Lebanese diaspora that
is resident in the region routinely contribute to the financing of Hizballah, a Lebanese
Shi’a group that is a U.S. Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.
U.S. Counterterrorism Efforts in Littoral West Africa. The question of
whether Al Qaeda sought temporary sanctuary in Liberia or Sierra Leone, and what
U.S. response, if any, may be appropriate, is controversial. While some U.S. officials
believe that there is a reasonable possibility that Al Qaeda operatives were involved
in purchasing Sierra Leonean diamonds, the FBI has reportedly repeatedly
investigated these allegations, and has found no firm evidence establishing the
claims. The claims, in this view, have not been proved, an assertion with which the
Central Intelligence Agency reportedly concurs. Similarly, The 9-11 Commission

41 “Text of Bin Ladin’s message broadcast by Al-Jazeera, 11 February,” BBC Monitoring
Newsfile, Feb. 11, 2003.
42 These allegations are discussed at length in CRS Report RL30751, Diamonds and
Conflict: Background, Policy, and Legislation, pp. 7-10 and 25-26.
43 Some observers postulate that the diamonds were purchased as a means of wealth savings
and asset preservation, rather than in order to directly finance Al Qaeda operations.
Diamonds are a compact, concentrated, and highly fungible form of wealth that is difficult
to trace, but can be easily concealed and transported. The Al Qaeda representatives
reportedly purchased diamonds at a premium, at prices that exceeded then-prevalent local
market rates, and which created temporary scarcity in the supply of rough diamonds in the
region of Sierra Leone where the purchases were made.

Report states that the Commission had “seen no persuasive evidence that Al Qaeda
funded itself by trading in African conflict diamonds” (p. 171) — though it did not
categorically deny that such links may exist. However, those that believe the
evidence is compelling44 assert that U.S. intelligence agencies findings — the
apparent basis of the 9/11 Commissions findings (see footnote 129) — are “wrong
and will damage international efforts to ensure that rough diamonds are not used to
fund terrorism.”45 There are also some indications that U.S. officials are divided
about the credibility of the allegations, and may be further investigating the link;
similarly, some Members of Congress reportedly view the allegations as credible.46
Interrogation of one of the operatives alleged to have purchased diamonds in Sierra
Leone, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, may result in confirmation or dismissal of the
claims. Ghailani was reportedly captured in Pakistan in late July 2004.47
Aside from the Al Qaeda/diamond linkages issue, a review of news sources and
informal discussions with U.S. officials indicates that there appear to be few overt
or apparent indications that there is a current or immediate threat of an international
terrorist presence in the Mano River basin countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia, and
Guinea, a diamond-rich area that has been deeply affected by instability, war, and
weak state capacities in Sierra Leone and Liberia) countries or in Nigeria. In Liberia
and Sierra Leone, U.S. officials point out, United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping
missions — of which the United States is a major funder — and military aid efforts
from other third countries are currently endeavoring to build up border monitoring
and patrol capacities, though they acknowledge that these countries’ borders remain
porous, and that these capacity-building efforts have had modest success to date.
They also note that several of these countries have signed U.N. anti-terrorism treaties
and publicly support U.S. counterterrorism efforts. One tool that has been provided
by the United States to Cote d’Ivoire, and could potentially be provided to other West
African countries are Terrorist Interdiction Program (TIP) hardware/software
packages, which are intended to allow participating countries to rapidly identify
criminal or terrorist suspects attempting to enter or exit the country. A State

44 Leading sources of such allegations include reports by Douglas Farah, a former
Washington Post reporter; the natural resources and human rights advocacy group Global
Witness; and public statements by David Crane, the Prosecutor of the Special Court for
Sierra Leone.
45 Quotation from Global Witness, “Global Witness questions 9/11 commission regarding
diamonds,” June 17,2004. Farah, who first reported such allegations and extensively
investigated and reported on them, recently published a book in which he summarizes his
findings. Entitled Blood from Stones: The Secret Financial Network of Terror (Broadway
Books, May 2004), the book includes a section characterizing what Farah views as an
improperly negative and dismissive reception of U.S. intelligence agencies to his findings.
46 See Thomas Catan and Michael Peel, “U.S. suspects al-Qaeda African diamond link:
Terrorists could be financing operations through smuggling from Sierra Leone,” Financial
Times, June 30, 2004; Chris Melville, “U.S. Examines Diamond Links Between Liberia and
Hizbollah,” WMRC Daily Analysis, June 30 2004; and Douglas Farah, “Report Says
Africans Harbored Al Qaeda; Terror Assets Hidden In Gem-Buying Spree,” Washington
Post, Dec. 29, 2002.
47 See Kamran Khan, “Pakistan Holds Top Al Qaeda Suspect,” Washington Post, July 30,


Department official informed CRS that TIP assistance to such countries is limited
due to funding constraints; the capacity of countries to use and apply the aid; and the
priority of a given potential recipient country, in relation to others, on the basis of the
exigency of the perceived terrorist threat among potential recipients.
Eur ope 48
European countries and the European Union (EU) have been reliable partners
for the United States in the fight against terrorism; they have significantly
strengthened their legal and administrative abilities to counter terrorists in the years
since September 11, and made improving law enforcement cooperation with the
United States a top priority. The 2001 attacks and the subsequent discovery of Al
Qaeda cells in Europe shocked European leaders and publics. Immediate and
unprecedented European efforts following September 11 to track down suspects and
freeze financial assets, often in close cooperation with U.S. authorities, produced
numerous arrests in Western Europe, especially in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy,
Spain, and the United Kingdom. Germany and Spain were identified as key logistical
and planning bases for the attacks on the United States. As a result, it quickly
became evident that Europe’s different legal systems, the largely open borders of the
then-15 member EU, liberal asylum laws, and strong privacy protections allowed
terrorists and other criminals to move around easily and evade arrest and prosecution.
The large Muslim populations in many Western European countries often provided
cover for terrorist cells as well as fertile recruiting grounds, drawing especially from
young, disenfranchised Muslim populations that have not been well-integrated into
mainstream European society. The lack of sizable Muslim communities in most
Central and Eastern European countries has made this region less of a known
sanctuary, although laxer border controls and weaker governments, especially in the
Balkans, still pose concerns. The March 11, 2004 terrorist bombings in Madrid,
Spain further confirmed for analysts and policymakers that Europe remains both “a
target and a base” for Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda-inspired terrorists.49
To respond to these threats, European governments have sought to tighten their
domestic laws against terrorism and terrorist financing, and many have taken steps
to reform immigration and asylum laws to prevent terrorists from gaining footholds
in their countries. Especially notable are EU initiatives since September 11 to boost
police and judicial cooperation, bring down traditional barriers among law
enforcement and intelligence agencies, and harmonize national laws against
terrorism. Among other steps, the EU has established a common definition of
terrorism and a list of terrorist groups, an EU arrest warrant, enhanced tools to
investigate terrorist financing, and new measures to strengthen external EU border
controls. The EU has been working to bolster Europol, its fledgling joint police
body, and Eurojust, a new unit charged with improving prosecutorial coordination
in cross-border crimes. In the wake of the Madrid attacks, the EU created a new

48 Prepared by Kristin Archick, Analyst in European Affairs, and Steven Woehrel, Specialist
in European Affairs.
49 See the text of a speech by Gijs De Vries, European Coordinator for Counterterrorism,
“European strategy in the fight against terrorism and the cooperation with the United
States,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC, May 13, 2004.

“counterterrorism czar” to help further improve internal EU law enforcement
cooperation and intelligence-sharing.
In addition, the EU has sought to build ties with U.S. police, judicial, and
intelligence authorities to complement and enhance ongoing bilateral cooperation.
Washington has welcomed these efforts, hoping they will ultimately help root out
terrorist cells in Europe that could be planning other attacks against the United States
or its interests. Europol has stationed two liaison officers in Washington, DC. The
United States and the EU have worked to bring their respective terrorist lists closer
together. Other steps taken to improve U.S.-EU cooperation include two U.S.-
Europol information-sharing agreements, and two new treaties on extradition and
mutual legal assistance (MLA). Once ratified, U.S. officials say the extradition
accord will harmonize and modernize bilateral U.S.-European extradition treaties;
the MLA treaty will give U.S. authorities access to European bank account
information, speed the processing time for MLA requests, and permit joint
Despite these strides, European governments and the EU still face significant
political, legal, and cultural hurdles as they seek to introduce more effective law
enforcement tools against terrorism. The March 2004 terrorist attacks in Spain
highlighted these ongoing implementation problems. National police and
intelligence services have remained reluctant to share information with Europol, or
with each other. Several of the Madrid suspects were reportedly known to security
services in Spain and in other EU states, but fell through communication cracks and
legal loopholes.50 Furthermore, agreed EU measures, such as the EU-wide arrest
warrant, have bogged down in the legislative processes of individual member states.
The warrant was supposed to have taken effect on January 1, 2004, but only eight of
the EU’s then-15 members had transposed the warrant into national law; the warrant
is still not in force in seven members of the enlarged EU of 25.
Like the United States, European governments have had to balance their
counterterrorism efforts against well-established civil liberty protections and
democratic ideals. For example, the evidentiary bar is still set very high in most
European countries. Although there have been hundreds of terrorist-related arrests
throughout Europe in recent years, critics assert that many suspects have been
released because of a lack of sufficient or admissible evidence, and there have been
few successful prosecutions. As of January 2004, for example, only six of the 544
people arrested under UK anti-terrorist legislation since September 11 had been
convicted.51 Cooperation challenges also remain between the United States and
Europe. European opposition to the use of the death penalty in the United States may
still slow or prevent the extradition of terrorist suspects. Different data protection
regimes have complicated quick and robust U.S.-EU cooperation in the area of
border controls and travel security. And some European officials complain that the
United States expects collaboration but does not readily share its own intelligence.

50 Tim Golden, Desmond Butler, and Don Van Natta, “As Europe hunts for terrorists, the
hunted press advantages,” New York Times, March 22, 2004
51 Craig Whitlock, “Terror suspects beating charges filed in Europe,” Washington Post, May

31, 2004.

Central and Eastern Europe has not been reported to be as important a haven for
Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups as some countries in Western Europe, in part
because most countries in the region have not attracted large numbers of Muslim
immigrants in recent decades. However, concerns have been raised about several
countries in southeastern Europe with large Muslim populations, especially Bosnia
and Herzegovina.
One area of particular concern in Bosnia is the presence of Islamic
fundamentalist fighters from the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia. Most left Bosnia at U.S.
insistence after the deployment of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in 1995.
However, some stayed behind and became Bosnian citizens. In addition, some
Islamic charities and humanitarian groups that proliferated during and after the war
have served as Al Qaeda fronts for planning attacks in Bosnia and elsewhere. Some
Al Qaeda operatives in Bosnia reportedly have had connections to members of
Bosnia’s intelligence service, another legacy of Bosniak wartime cooperation with
Islamic militants. Terrorist groups have also operated from Albania. There have
been few reports of terrorists operating from Kosovo.52 It should be stressed that
opposition to terrorism among indigenous Muslims in the Balkans has been
remarkably strong. Bosniaks and Albanians are generally more secular in outlook
than Muslims elsewhere. Most view themselves as part of Europe and are grateful
for the perceived U.S. role in defending them against Serbian aggression in the
1990s. Efforts by Islamic extremists to recruit local Muslims into their organizations
have met with limited success.53
The State Department Patterns of Global Terrorism reports for 2002 and 2003
noted that the countries of southeastern Europe have taken steps to combat terrorism.
Bosnia has transferred terrorist suspects to U.S. control, shut down non-governmental
organizations with links to terrorism, and frozen terrorist assets. Albania has taken
similar steps. However, as noted by the 9/11 Commission report, border controls and
security services in central and eastern Europe are not as effective as their Western
counterparts. The situation is improving in new EU member states in central Europe,
due to substantial EU assistance in bringing their border controls up to EU standards.
Countries in southeastern Europe, which are not likely to join the EU for many years,
have received lesser amounts of aid for the same purpose. They continue to be
particularly vulnerable due to the weakness of their government institutions and the
power of organized crime and corruption in the region. On the other hand, NATO-
led peacekeeping forces operating in Bosnia and Kosovo (dubbed SFOR and KFOR
respectively) work with their local counterparts and independently to track down and
arrest suspected terrorists. After SFOR’s withdrawal from Bosnia at the end of 2004,
a NATO headquarters will continue to play a role in anti-terrorist efforts in Bosnia,
as will the European Union-led successor force to SFOR.
Some observers have asserted that Bosnia poses a more significant terrorist risk
than often reported. One recent press report quotes unnamed European intelligence
officials as saying that some of the approximately 750 former Islamic foreign fighters

52 Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003, from the State Department website,
[ h t t p : / / www.s t a t e . go v. ]
53 Discussions with U.S. officials.

in Bosnia provide a “one-stop shop close to Europe” for guns, money, and documents
for terrorists passing through the region.54

54 Harry de Quetteville, “U.S. hunts Islamic militants in Bosnia,” Daily Telegraph, July 26,